Student Feature – Bhagyashree Ghodke

Bhagyashree is in her first year of college and she’s boldly going where no Ashraya kid has been before….into fashion designing! In a society with a preference for doctors and engineers, Bhagyashree’s unique career choice and her internship with Ashraya makes her our feature for this issue.

She has been attending Ashraya classes nearly every day since she was in the 4th standard. After 10th, she was given the opportunity of interning with Ashraya for two months, in which she learned how to use the computer, developed her English skills, and taught a few pre-primary classes.

Bhagyashree was happily surrounded by clothes as a child and her sister was a tailor, so she learned how to sew and decided to pursue fashion designing in college. She is great with the sewing machine; she put together an entire salwaar kameez dress in a day for a younger student for the Annual Day.

Now that she is studying fashion design, her favorite part of the process is sketching and imagining ensembles, especially the long, embellished skirts worn as traditional wear in India, called gaghras.  She hopes to open a boutique one day and we wish her the best!


Student Feature: Aditi Burutkar

Aditi Burutkar’s ambition is extraordinary. She has taken advantage of every single opportunity that has come her way. A school “topper” and a recipient of quite a few school awards, Aditi is all about achieving success in the fields that she excels in and is passionate about.

Ashraya selected two students to attend a leadership camp in Dehradun, Uttarakhand at the end of May. Aditi was one and Saniya Dalal the other (we’ve written a Facebook post about their selection). This ten day camp included adventure activities, critical thinking exercises, theater, and space to debate about big social issues facing India.


Read more…

Ashraya’s Goals for the 2018-2019

When we say that our models for adolescent development and education are holistic, we literally mean that we start from the womb and end when the child is placed in a job.

A child cannot grow up well if her/his mother is not well fed and cared for. We see to the mother’s health when she is pregnant by providing supplements. When the child is born, the mother brings her baby to our health center’s mother-baby classes and we focus on their nutrition and hygiene. Then, the child attends extra classes, beginning from nursery, all the way to 10th standard. And we don’t stop there; we want to see our students studying in colleges around the city (and around the world) and then land a job. Ultimately, we want them to take the leadership in transforming their communities, where once, going to school wasn’t an option. But we don’t live in such times anymore. Quality education is a right for every child and we want them to become change makers in their own communities. by teaching the importance of education to future generations.

Read more…

Ranjanas große Reise

Unser ganzer Stolz, Ranjana, hat gerade als Athletin des indischen Floorhockey-Teams an den Special Olympics in Graz teilgenommen! Das ist wirklich eine unglaubliche (und so verdiente) Möglichkeit für dieses hart-arbeitende Mädchen, die sich durch Ausscheidungen auf dem Bezirks-, Landes- und nationalem Level gegen viele andere Athletinnen durchsetzen musste.

Letzte Woche hatte sie die Möglichkeit AIC Austria Obfrau Judith, die Ranjana schon jahrelang kennt, in Graz zu treffen, was für beide sehr emotional war!

Vor kurzem haben wir erfahren, dass Ranjanas Team die Bronze-Medaille bekommen hat. Wir sind wirklich sehr stolz auf sie!

Die ganze besondere Geschichte von Ranjana kannst du hier nachlesen.


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Ein bisschen Weihnachtszauber für AIC


Wir, von AIC, haben als oberstes Ziel unseren Kindern Selbstachtung und Selbstwertschätzung zu vermitteln. Außerdem wollen wir ihnen die Möglichkeit geben die Welt um sich herum zu erforschen und dabei mit anderen zu interagieren. Einfach gesagt: sie sollen ihre Kindheit in vollsten Zügen genießen und offen sein für Neues.


Indiens 70. Unabhängigkeitstag

Happy Independence Day!


Schon in der Woche vor unserer offiziellen Feier von Indien 70. Unabhängigkeitstag im AIC Bildungszentrum, konnte man den Patriotismus und die Aufregung bei den Kindern und unseren Angestellten spüren. Die Klassen probten und so mancher Besucher und unsere Mitarbeiten kamen so zu inoffiziellen Konzerten und Aufführungen. In der Zwischenzeit beschäftigten die Lehrer die Kinder mit Flaggenbastelstunden und Unterricht zur Geschichte und der Gesellschaft Indiens. (more…)

The AIC-difference

Die kleine Priya, die wir liebevoll Piyu nennen, ist 3 Jahre alt und hat gerade das einjährige Spielgruppenprogramm bei AIC abgeschlossen. Sie beginnt im Juni mit der Krabbelgruppe. Vor kurzem setzten wir uns mit ihrer Mutter zusammen, um ihre Gefühle zu AIC, der Spielgruppe und der Waghri-Gemeinschaft, mit deren Mitgliedern AIC arbeitet, zu besprechen.

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)


Ein neuer Beginn und ein herzlicher Abschied

Februar war ein ereignisreiches Monat hier bei AIC. Eine neue Klasse wurde gestartet und mit schwerem Herzen verabschiedeten wir uns von einer langjährigen Kollegin und Freundin. Madhavi war drei Jahre lang Teil unseres Teams als Leiterin des Gesundheitsprogramms und war ein Segen für uns alle. Sie hatte keine Wahl zu bleiben, sondern muss aus gesundheitlichen Gründen gehen und wünscht sich weiterhin ein Teil der AIC-Familie zu bleiben und uns so oft wie möglich zu besuchen. Madhavis letzter Tag vor Ort beinhaltete eine Überraschungsfeier, viele Tränen und noch viel mehr Lachen. Sie erklärte uns: “Es ist ein Tag, den ich ewig voller Freude in Erinnerung behalten werde. Zu sehen, dass alle vier Aspekte von AIC hier in einem Raum repräsentiert sind, dass alle gekommen sind, um die Arbeit, die ich gemacht habe, zu würdigen. Ich fühle eine starke Verbindung und die Leistung, die wir alle gemeinsam zustande gebracht haben.”



The Fight for Change

AIC team members had no idea that Thursday, February 18th, would be a particularly eventful day when they prepared to head into work that morning. However, around 8:45, Education Program Director, Bunty received a call from teachers at Krantiveer Lahuji Vastad Salve E-Learning School (a nearby government school where 34 AIC students are enrolled) informing her that several AIC students were believed to have been involved in a theft earlier in the week.

SL-6621Since we are making an active effort to encourage families to take an increased role in their children’s educations, Bunty told the parents of the children in question to head to the school to get more details, and that she would be over shortly to sort things out. Read more…

My Children will be Different

Happy International Day of the Girl Child! As everyone who is familiar with AIC undoubtedly knows, the rights and education of girls are central to the work that we do. Although change is happening slowly within the Waghri and Sikligar communities, women and girls still bear the brunt of inequality, violence, illiteracy, malnutrition, child marriage, and early parenthood.

One such girl is Archana, a student in AIC’s Education Program, who has decided to speak publicly about her experiences fleeing her husband earlier this year.


Archana in 2008

Archana was a student in AIC’s Education Outreach Program from late 2007 to mid-2012 when her parents covertly arranged her marriage. Read more…

A Child who Reads Becomes an Adult who Thinks

International Literacy Day, according to UNESCO, is a day to celebrate and promote literacy, a “basic human right and fundamental building block for learning as well as a personal empowerment tool.”


As the underlying themes that underpin our work are the education, cultivation, and empowerment of the next generation of Waghri and Sikligar community members, this occasion is quite significant for us here at AIC. Read more…

The Gift of Water

This spring, our Education Centre received a tremendous gift: clean, pure drinking water. The preciousness of this gift cannot be understated. Reliable water connections are hard to come by in the slum area that is home to our Education Centre, and the water that flows through the government water pipes is of dubious quality and cleanliness.


Although we had relied on a water filter to provide clean drinking water, Read more…

Au revoir, Claudia!

It hasn’t all been fun and games here in Pune. At the beginning of January, we said a very sad goodbye to Claudia didi. Claudia started her AIC journey in 2010 as a residential program volunteer, then returned last year as director of the Education Outreach Centre. Read more…

More Diwali festivities

Pooja, helping with the rangoli design

More rangoli
Note that almost all of the children are the same height as Sangeeta (or taller!)

Spending time with AIC’s new CEO, Christie Pettitt-Schieber

Tushar, Geeta, Poonam and Santosh

Organizing the CD/movies cupboard

Cleaning out the water filter (no need to call a professional when you’ve got a Tushar in the family!)


New Diwali outfits


Pooja and Rahul


Awww…brotherly love (this probably didn’t end well)


Geeta, Poonam and Kajal, looking so…OLD!
Everyone has been enjoying some much-needed time at the Residential house this week!  And of course, Diwali vacation wouldn’t be complete without the activities that have become annual traditions for the AIC family – firecrackers, lights, diya painting, rangoli, getting to pick out a new Diwali outfit (seriously, the children start planning their Diwali outfits six months in advance!), not to mention lots of cleaning, organizing, and some good old fashioned time together as a family.  
More soon from our other programs!